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I've managed to collect 293/301 peaks on the CC-list over the past decade or so, a questionable list that only questionable peakbaggers are bothering to persue. Because many on this list are private property, getting this far has been a good deal of work and I expected there might be five or six that I would never reach. Sean has done a lot of work to gain access to two of these, Williams Peak and Impassable Rocks. He contacted and befriended landowners, stayed at their AirBnB, and even did some trail work on another peak on the same land. He and Daryn had done Impassable Rocks back in December while I was in Hawaii and I was sorry to have missed it. Not wanting to pass up a chance for Williams, I readily joined in Sean's plan for Feb 8-9, responding to a list he had sent to half a dozen other interested parties. In the end, Daryn and I were the only ones to join him, much like our outing to Brush Mtn back in November. We met at the Leonard Lake Reserve, a collection of cabins that can be rented out, staying there for two nights. The place we rented had a ridiculous number of beds and sleeps something like 15 easily, but there were just five us this weekend, Asaka and her friend joining the three of us.
Starting off shortly before 8a, we descended an old logging road along Rice Creek, cutting off a few switchbacks with some steep drops through the mostly open forest understory. The first half of the route is pretty tame and matches the same route Sean and Daryn had used for Impassable Rocks. The first mile can be driven in ATVs but washouts block further motorized travel for the last two miles down to Big River. With the exception of an easy crossing of Rice Creek, we mostly stuck to the old roads and had little trouble getting to Big River in little over an hour. The Big River crossing turned out to be no more tricky than Rice Creek, though in times after a recent rain it would be another story. From here, our route diverged from the Impassable Rocks outing, followed mostly up a ridge showing a 4WD track on the topo map. We found this road to be alternately in good condition or overgrown and hard to follow. In one section that was particularly overgrown, we diverged to the west to find more forested slopes, eventually working around this area (the topo map shows it as a brushy area around the 1,200-foot level). The topo map shows the 4WD road converging with a better dirt road. It turned out to be somewhat better but just as unused. There is a ranch on the more open south side of Williams Peak at around 1,600ft, with several buildings visible during portions of our ascent. We were far enough away (3/4mi) that there was little chance of being noticed and we saw no activity in the vicinity. This was one of the few places where we had views and it was nice to see the fog that had filled the valleys earlier was now dissipating. At around the 2,200-foot level we crossed the best road we'd seen all morning and though this one was cleared and showed some vehicle use, it appears to be lightly so. The ranch to the south most likely is more regularly approached from the south and west. With less than half a mile to go, we continued up another 500ft through forest understory and the seemingly ever-present old logging roads. It was 11a by the time we pulled up onto the forested summit, a rounded knob buried in trees with no views but at least some rocks to sit and rest upon. We spent probably about 20min snacking and leaving a register for the dribble of peakbaggers we expect will visit after us.
Our return took longer than our ascent, though there was no good reason for it to have done so. We tried to make several improvements in our route to avoid the brushier parts, but these seemed to either dead-end or prove no better. We did enjoy a neat bit following a side creek descending the last 400ft to Big Creek, the only real Wilderness feel we had all day. It would be nearly 3p by the time we got back to the jeep, a few hours earlier than we expected at the beginning of the day. With almost three hours of daylight remaining, we decided to check out a second summit.
This page last updated: Mon Feb 10 18:46:01 2020
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